Aljamain Sterling has waited a long time to fight for the UFC bantamweight belt, and soon he’ll have his chance, at UFC 259. But that doesn’t mean that the chatter between him and champion Petr Yan won’t be lively in the lead-up to it.
This new set of barbs traded came as a result of Sterling posting a video of the intensity of his training and prep for going deep into a championship bout. Yan decided to confidently cut that down letting Sterling know he plans on making it a short night at the office.
Our fight not going to round 5 https://t.co/v2H9dHOtSf— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) February 21, 2021
That led to Sterling hitting back, with this:
I just need one takedown. Fathers plan. Trust me, I’ve taken down bigger men then you with strong wrestling. I hope you’ve been eating your Wheaties my брат https://t.co/yGleX1odPu— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) February 21, 2021
Yan remained unconvinced and unimpressed:
One takedown ♂️You will need plan B aka plan “Bycicle”. Алджа, не мороси родной https://t.co/ZKT3xW6MC4— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) February 21, 2021
Sterling decided then and there to cut it short:
Too much talking brother. We will see in 2 weeks. Simple.— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) February 21, 2021
Fathers plan will have you nervous, frustrated, and tired. https://t.co/5rcJbMgrFL
More than idle social media chatter, there could very well be a bit of some mind games being played here. Is it possible that he may stick with this grappling-centered gameplan, or is it misdirection? Does he have something else up his sleeve entirely? We’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out.
There’s no secret in what Yan’s priorities are in any fight, and that’s to bring his high-level striking and well-rounded game with underappreciated athleticism to any situation. Yan (15-1) been a great grappler as well, and a submission threat with deceptive speed. All of this has led him to his current ten-fight winning streak, during which he avenged his only professional loss to Mageomed Magomedov.
On the other hand, Sterling’s evolution has been much more noticeable. Currently at 19-3, he’s sitting on five wins in a row that include victories over tough opposition such as Brett Johns, Jimmie Rivera, Cody Stamann, and the potential next guy in line, Cory Sandhagen. His striking and defense have gotten much sharper with better timing, and he’s become an excellent submission finisher as well. Even if the talk stops here, we won’t have to wait long to see how this plays out.
The pair will meet up on March 6th for UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya, which will be live on PPV via ESPN+.